CBI sees recession as a catalyst for new business era

The recession has become the catalyst for a new era in business, according to a report by the CBI.

The study by the employers’ group identifies four key areas of UK business where new ways of working could develop because of the downturn.

They include more flexible workforces, greater collaborations among businesses and wider financing options.

“The Shape of Business – The Next 10 Years” is being launched ahead of the CBI annual conference in London later. The recession has raised concerns about commercial models, supply chains and finance that will reshape business behaviour well into the next decade, according to the CBI, which represents 240,000 UK businesses. Its study suggests:

  • Businesses look to alternatives to protect investment and innovation Companies look at their approach to working with partners and even competitors to stop future “domino effect” of supply-chain failures.
  • Sustainability and ethics could become more integrated into the business model.
  • Firms should seek to improve accountability to attract and retain customers and staff.
  • A more flexible workforce should evolve with some firms that might mean a smaller core workforce and a larger, so-called flexiforce.

Richard Lambert, director general of the CBI, said the UK may be poised at the edge of a new era for business.

“Attitudes to finance and to corporate leadership are changed for a generation by the shock of the past two years,” he said.

“What we now need is a more balanced, less risky pathway to growth – one in which the short-term returns may be lower, but the long-term rewards for management success will be a lot more sustainable and secure.”

The Prime Minister is expected to call for an “outward-facing Britain, attracting inward investment and sustaining high-value-added jobs”, when he attends the conference. He will stress the importance that business links with Europe hold for Britain.

The government says more than three million British jobs depend on Europe.